the cube.

on friday i was extremely lucky to be invited to the cube by electrolux. if you’ve not yet heard about the cube, it’s the pop-up restaurant which will be on top of the royal festival hall for the next four months. every few weeks, a different michelin star chef will cook a 5 course meal for its 18 guests.

as a fan of the great british menu i was really excited to find out daniel clifford would be the chef cooking for us. i had already planned to tell him that his fryers breaking at the banquet had given me a mini break down. the layout of the cube meant that you were able to watch the chef cook all his dishes, and he welcomed us to come up and ask questions. i mostly just stood and got in his way.

i was allowed to bring a guest and we both felt a bit apprehensive before we arrived. the thought of sitting at a table with 16 strangers was a bit daunting, but luckily everyone we met was really friendly and after a glass or two of champagne i felt very relaxed (drunk).

0nce we had taken in the amazing views and posed for photos on the balcony we sat down to enjoy the first daniel clifford delight, a bloody mary. one my food highlights of the night.

before we ate each course daniel took us through all of the ingredients he had used to create the dish, and told us how we could re-create them at home. next up was a crispy hen’s egg wrapped in fried potato, griddled asparagus and an asparagus velouté (or a velvety sauce to you and me). my favourite part of this was the burnt onion (the black powder) which daniel said you could recreate by simply burning an onion until it will burn no more – this produces a sweet powder and accompanied the rest of the dish perfectly.

you know how i feel about poached eggs so this was like a dream for me.

next on the menu was sauteed scallops with apple jelly, shavings of truffle and celeriac. the scallops were huge, the biggest i’ve ever seen and i watched in awe as they were cooked. daniel also told us how the apples used in this dish were grown from the tree in his garden.

after the scallops we had roast quail, summer peas, sauteed girolles and wild garlic oil. i don’t think i’ve had quail many times in my life and i can’t imagine having anything ever again that would compete with this.

next up was my joint favourite with the bloody mary – a slow roast rump of lamb, courgette, tomato, basil and olde york cheese (which was a bit like feta but nicer). my friend doesn’t really like lamb but this won him over, he pretty much inhaled it which was a bit embarrassing.

for pudding we had caramelised pineapple, pineapple sorbet with an amazing pineapple candy floss, which i think could be the best candy floss in the world. it was funny watching daniel clifford’s girlfriend (who was sat opposite us) politely eat this even though she had openly said that she absolutely hates pineapple.

when i got home i was so excited it took me ages to get to sleep because i couldn’t stop thinking about how good it had been. this might have been because of the coffee but i’m pretty sure it was just because i’d had such a lovely time. thank you to electrolux for having me :)

verdict – you can book online here

bucci in balham.

last week i went for dinner at a little italian restaurant in balham, which i think might become my new local fave. a few times i have walked past bucci and it’s been heaving with people stuffing their faces, whilst the rest of the restaurants along the high st have been no way near as busy.

there are a few reasons why i liked bucci so much

  • the first is because the restaurant was really old school and made me feel like tony soprano. the italian man that owns it remembered my friends from their previous visit and greeted them with kisses, which is always nice. he even chased my friend down the road when she forgot her umbrella. what a guy
  • the second is because even though i hate limoncello, i appreciated the shot i was forced to drink as we paid the bill
  • the third is because i had the most amazing seafood linguine, all for a poxy £8.90

if you have ever seen the episode of gavin and stacey at the italian, this is what it reminded me of. i struggled to make a decision but i was recommended the seafood linguine. i was really happy with my choice. as you can see this massive portion of pasta was served with clams, big fat king prawns and calamari in a garlic and tomato sauce. my friend said that last time it had salmon and mussels too.

if you’re looking for a friendly, cheap and tasty dinner then you should go here. it’s really close to balham tube too. you should prob book at the weekend as i imagine it’s hard to get a table. they also do takeaway pizza which is meant to be cracking.

pulled pork at pitt cue trailer.

i’ve been meaning to go to pitt cue in soho for ages but the whole queuing for an hour thing really puts me off. today however, i stumbled upon this little beauty. i had just done a lap of the south bank food festival and not committed to a lunch, but when i saw this this little truck my heart squealed.
i had no idea pitt cue had started out as a little trailer under the hungerford bridge, if i had known i’m sure i would have been there before now.
me and my nan both got the pulled pork bun and it was, in her words “off the shizzle” (might have made that bit up).  it really was though. it cost £6.50 and as you can see the glazed bun was stacked with soft pulled pork, red cabbage slaw, pickled gherkins and some bbq salsa type thing.
the only thing i would say is to find yourself a quiet corner to eat this, which is quite hard on a saturday  afternoon at one of the most popular tourist spots in london. this is because it is a bloody mess to eat, and they are a bit stingy with the napkins. luckily my nan, like all nan’s, had her own pocket tissues.
my nan liked it so much she put her face in the box.
verdict – i would go back to south bank just for this, and i probably will next week as my post lovebox cure. you can find the trailer outside of the royal festival hall, every day 12pm – 9pm. enjoy :)

brick lane salt beef bagel.

as an honorary jew i decided it was about time i got myself down to east london to sample the famous brick lane bagels. this is actually a bit of a lie, i was really going there to see the rib man, but alas, it was jubilee sunday and he was having a little rest. this was ok though because beigel bake was my plan b and it worked out pretty well.

i have only really converted to mustard and gherkins in the last year, and this was my first ever proper salt beef bagel so i have no basis for comparison, but i bloody loved it. the mustard was pretty eye watering, but in an enjoyable way. apparently this place is open 24hrs a day, and it makes you feel like your eastenders when you queue, so all in all i would recommend the experience. it cost me about £4 but i was too excited to listen to how much i paid so don’t quote me on that.

shalom kids